What you can learn about B2B sales from Olympic athletes

rsz_bantio_5_of_5Think about all the sports metaphors that populate the world of B2B selling. Slam dunk. Home run. Sales hurdle. Let’s face it, many sales teams think of themselves as sports teams, and each salesperson as a top-flight athlete. So as the world gears up for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, it’s interesting to consider: What can you learn about B2B sales from the world’s top Olympic athletes?

#1: Define big stretch goals in the form of smaller goals

The ultimate goal of any world-class athlete is to make it to the Olympics. But since the Olympics only happen once every four years, there’s a lot that has to happen for that to become a reality. Getting to the Olympics is the big picture goal. But, there are all the Olympic trials before getting picked for the team, for example. And there’s the matter of picking the right coach, the right training regimen, and the right sponsor. You could keep further sub-dividing the big goal – getting to the Olympics in four years – in the form of all these smaller goals that must be achieved within much tighter timeframes.

That’s the same type of approach that you need to have for B2B sales – constantly subdividing your big reach goals into smaller, attainable goals. You need to think about all the milestones along the way. If you want to grow sales by 20% a year, for example, think of what needs for that to happen on a quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily basis.

#2: Make a commitment to get better every day

Think of all the hard work that goes into becoming an Olympic athlete. Getting up early in the morning to train, regardless of the weather. Going to the gym alone when everybody else you know is home asleep. Changing your diet. Moving your family to be closer to an Olympic training facility. Everything is done with a commitment to getting better every single day.

You need to have the same approach in B2B sales – you need to be constantly asking yourself: How can I get better today at B2B sales? Think about small tweaks to your routine. Think about how many phone calls you’re making each day. Think about the way you stay ahead of changing industry trends. You need to be constantly searching out the edge. Think of yourself as a world-class athlete.

#3: Don’t take “no” for an answer

Olympic athletes will not take “no” for an answer. They are willing to power through any adversity, accept any physical pain, in pursuit of their big goal. That’s why they are so inspiring – they have literally dedicated their entire lives to become the best in the world at what they do.

Think about how you can apply this approach to B2B sales. You need to make phone call after phone call, even after you’ve been rejected. You need to rally back from this sting of rejection, and still power on. You can not take “no” for an answer.


So as the world turns its attention to Rio this summer for the 2016 Summer Olympics, think about all those athletes out there, and how they can be inspirational role models for everything you are trying to achieve in business.


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